The dreaded employee evaluation. No one likes getting them, no one likes giving them.

Ask any employee at any company how they feel about evaluations, and you’ll most likely get a shrug, an eye roll, or an emotional story about a painful experience.

Because they’re dreaded AND required, many managers take the “rip off the band-aid” approach to giving evaluations to their team members. They think, “Let’s get this over with quickly, in one swift motion, and hope it doesn’t sting too much.”

And yet when done well, constructive feedback can be an invaluable way to improve performance, strengthen skills, and develop an extraordinary team.

The problem is that the right foundation usually hasn’t been put in place to make this feedback effective or well-received. If they haven’t previously connected on an authentic, human level, employees walk away from evaluations feeling scolded and managers walk away feeling guilty.

What can you do to build that connection?

You can start by creating a strong sense of trust between supervisor and employee. If the employee knows that her boss wants her to succeed, she’ll be much more open to receiving constructive feedback because she’ll know that it’s coming from a place of wanting her to grow her skills. And if the supervisor recognizes the employee’s needs for autonomy, challenge, and opportunities to shine, then she can provide guidance, suggestions, and mentoring that helps her employee get there.

Relating to each other as people first – and approaching life in the office with the same positive energy you do outside of work – can go a long way toward creating an environment where feedback is given in a way that’s constructive and growth-inspiring.

Have you ever gotten an especially great – or especially painful – employee evaluation? Share your story and why it was so good – or bad.